Nearly two-thirds of UK brands are underutilising their data. Its effectiveness is limited by focussing on general analysis activations, rather than more sophisticated techniques. While the majority are activating their data, just a few marketers (5%) are not applying their data at all. Only 39% of brands are utilising the power of advanced measurement solutions to gain granular insights from their data.  

A study of marketing decision makers in the UK was conducted by technology and digital marketing consultancy Making Science. Over half (55%) of all the marketers surveyed aim to gain new clients as a result of data activation. This highlighted surprising wastage of efforts considering the post-pandemic drive for efficiency; and the pressure of growing economic concerns on ROI.     

Those activating their data not only aim to attract new clients, but also to: increase brand awareness (50%); gain more loyalty within their current client base (46%); increase ROI (42%); and increase Conversion Rate Optimisation (38%). 

Rise of AI

90% of companies have embraced machine learning in order to enrich their data. The most common usage in all industries surveyed was to create product recommendations for consumers. Nearly half of respondents utilised the tech for this. A further 43% stated that they used machine learning in order to optimise ad campaigns. 34% use AI in order to personalise their website. 

In line with other data trends, retail brands are most likely to not be using machine learning. A fifth of respondents from this industry are not using the technology. 


Nearly one in ten companies are still unsure how GDPR regulations apply to their company. Six years after the initial legislation was introduced, a further 4% state that they have not heard of the GDPR regulations. 1% state they are aware of the regulations but have chosen to ignore them.  

Of those who have taken notice of GDPR, 38% worked with an external expert in order to become compliant. A third of them rely on in-house expertise. 

“Brands are investing in data collection with the aim to grow their business and enhance current services. Yet they are failing to fully complete the final stage of activation – where the benefits of their efforts are rewarded. This was particularly surprising to us.” said Kevin Daly, First-Party Data Director at Making Science.  

“Almost all companies look to ensure the quality of their data. 60% use internal processes with 50% relying on external platforms. 9 in 10 are going a step further and enriching their data – using a mixture of machine learning and AI tools. However, after all the hard work, the majority are failing to use advanced measurement solutions to activate their data to its full potential. There is currently a lack of understanding or resources to complete the most important stage in the data journey: activation.” 

With the rapid development of machine learning, we can only assume that the gap between data gathered and actionable insight will reduce over the following years. However, we can’t resist wondering what kind of disruptions and adjustments this process will require from different marketing teams. 

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